Published: August 13, 2016
Number of pages: 222
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Series: Cold Creek #4
Synopsis:The drama program has never been so dramatic.
It’d be the season to be jolly if only someone hadn’t set the stage for murder. When a student is arrested for the crime, Professor Sheridan Hendley is cast in the role of amateur sleuth. Tensions run high, friendships are strained, and the college administration is beginning to panic. As the plot thickens Sheridan is yet again drawn deeper into danger. Will she find the truth before the final curtain call?
About the author:Christa Nardi is and always has been an avid reader. Her favorite authors have shifted from Carolyn Keene and Earl Stanley Gardner to more contemporary mystery/crime authors over time, but mystery/crime along with romance and scifi/fantasy are her preferred choices for leisure reading. Christa also has been a long time writer from poetry and short stories to the Cold Creek series, Christa has joined many other reader/writers in writing one genre she enjoys reading – the cozy mystery. The series started with Murder at Cold Creek College; Murder in the Arboretum is the second in the series. Murder at the Grill is the third. Christa Nardi is a pen name for a real life professor/psychologist from the Northeast who is well published in nonfiction and technical venues.
Interview:1. Who or what inspired you to start writing?
In high school and some in college, I’d “write” – at first prompted by teachers, then just for fun. But it was never more than a short story and I don’t even know what happened to them. Several years ago, I was talking with a friend and she mentioned the local writer’s group. Her connection was in the area of technical writing, but we talked about writing fiction… That was the way it started.
2. What do you do to help you get over writer's block?
What I have found works is to take a little time away from the work-in-progress and “play” with different ideas in my head. That may lead to a new scene or subplot. I know some people say not to edit, but at times I find that if I’m having trouble with what comes next, it helps to start at the beginning and read through to the point where I stopped. Getting into the flow of the story – as opposed to picking up where I left off – can provide direction. Sometimes, in directions I hadn’t thought of before.
3. Do you have scheduled writing time or a certain amount of words you write each day?
I have a scheduled writing time – once per week for about 2-3 hours. On a good day, I can write about 2000 words during that time. My full time job gets in the way of more regular writing, but that doesn’t stop me from thinking about where the story is going in the meantime. During the week, I may or may not have a chance to write – usually not for as long.
4. Where do you get your ideas for your books?
I remember teachers telling us to write about what you know. In the course of my life, I have worked in various settings and interacted with many individuals with lots of “personality” and quirks. I’ve chosen the setting I’ve been in the longest – higher education – and added in all the quirky characters, conflicts, and dynamics across settings to the extreme. Generally, the victim is not missed by a lot of people – in fact, there are many with a motive for murder and the challenge for me, and the reader, is to identify the murderer.
5. When you are not writing what do you like to do?
I read - a lot. I also like to dance, watch sports, travel, play online games, and bake. I’m a dog lover and like to play with my dogs and take them for walks.
6. What one piece of advice would you like to give to aspiring writers?
Write what you want to write, what you would want to read – and then edit, edit, edit. I know you said “one” but I’d also suggest joining other writers (in FB groups or locally) to share ideas and lessons learned.
7. Who is your favorite author or book that you would like to recommend to your readers
That’s hard. It depends on the genre first of all. In popular – well known mysteries with a female amateur sleuth and a touch of humor, Janet Evanovich and the Stephanie Plum series, especially the earlier ones. Not so well known, and milder in many ways, I’d recommend Larissa Reinhart and her Cherry Tucker series. Prefer a male sleuth? The Mac Faraday series by Lauren Carr – and in the election year, Candidate for Murder had me laughing out loud. I could go on and on…
8. If you could meet any famous person dead or alive who would it be and why?
Louisa May Alcott : I read many of her books and Jo is my all time heroine. I think Alcott was the first to write and publish for young women.
9. If you could visit anywhere in the world where would you like to visit?
Australia and New Zealand are on the bucket list for when I retire (from the salaried job) and can take the time to do them justice.
10. Five interesting facts about yourself
I enjoy reading fantasy as well as mystery and romantic suspense.
I have at various points in my life worked on an ambulance, in insurance, for the state as a disaster planner, in public education, in retail, and most recently in higher education.
I am a total klutz, have no sense of direction, and I’m tone deaf.
I have about 100 works (articles, book chapters, books) in the nonfiction realm (under a different name).
I support animal rescue efforts – both my dogs are rescues.
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